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Madison Dairy Expo cancellation costs $25 million in economic loss

Brittney Ermon

September 30, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Dairy Expo is cancelled for the first time in 54 years because of coronavirus concerns, resulting in $25 million of an economic loss.

The Dairy Expo was scheduled to be at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison from Sept. 28 until Oct. 3.

Some call the event the Superbowl of the dairy industry.

“It’s simply because it’s the pinnacle of the dairy industry in terms of events and competitions,” Katie Schmitt, Dairy Expo Communications Manager said.

The five-day event attracts nearly 70,000 people from around the world to Madison, but Covid concerns caused organizers to cancel.

We realized there just wouldn’t be an opportunity to gather nearly 60,000 at the Alliant Energy Center this year," Schmitt said.

Organizers said due to the nature of the event, a virtual expo isn’t possible either.

“For an organization that solely does this event, it’s definitely a financial burden to deal with,” she said.

Destination Madison officials said the city will feel the pinch.

“World Dairy Expo brings about $25 million into our community during the six days that it’s here,” Deb Archer, Destination Madison president and CEO said. “It’s a dramatic impact to a $1.4 million industry.”

She said the economic impact has a domino effect.

“It’s not just the front line businesses that are impacted, it’s their suppliers and the money in the hands of people who work here and would spend money,” she said.

Archer said the lack of visitors and cancelled events comes at a cost, but they’re already looking to the future.

“Our hope is when the pandemic is over, people are confident again and those events will want to come back to Madison,” Archer said.



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